Highlanders reject Veainu lights up screen

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 03/07/2013
Telusa Veainu
Fairfax NZ
GREAT SCORE: Telusa Veainu.

Relevant offers

Super Rugby

Auckland coach Paul Feeney joins Tana Umaga's Blues setup as an assistant Hurricanes Super Rugby franchise seeking major sponsor Wellington's Vaea Fifita signs three-year Super Rugby deal with Hurricanes Crusaders search for new general manager Super Rugby crisis looms as Japan struggles with expansion franchise Chiefs sign New Zealand Under-20s captain Atu Moli on two-year deal Chiefs still have five holes to fill in their 2016 squad Ex-Wallabies coach Eddie Jones in talks with Super Rugby side the Stormers Tana Umaga's coaching group falling into place at the Blues Tana Umaga names All Blacks analyst Alistair Rogers as defence coach at Blues

Telusa Veainu was "a bit embarrassed" when Aaron Mauger treated the Crusaders to a repeat screening of his brilliant try against the Highlanders last Saturday night.

Veainu, called in as a late bench replacement for Adam Whitelock, produced one of the most spectacular tries sighted at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium when he scored in the 80th minute to earn the Crusaders a bonus point in the 40-12 win.

The movement, instigated by a quick throw-in from Dan Carter, involved a dazzling range of skills by Veainu - pace, a sidestep and an outrageous dummy.

No wonder, then, that Crusaders assistant backs coach Mauger felt compelled to replay it to the Crusaders squad yesterday. "Azza chucked it up on the big screen for everyone to have a look. I was a bit embarrassed and everyone was giving me a bit of flak about it," Veainu said. "But that's good, it keeps me grounded."

If the Crusaders scrape into the Super Rugby playoffs by a solitary competition point the coaching staff and his team-mates should slather Veainu with his favourite treats for a week.

You get the feeling that is the last thing he would want but it gives some idea of how valuable that try, the Crusaders' fourth of the game, could be for their season.

Veainu, who replaced left wing Zac Guildford in the 68th minute, tried to deflect some of the praise to right wing Tom Marshall. "All the unseen credit goes to Tom Marshall who ran alongside, which gave me the option to dummy him and fool Hosea Gear. It unfolded nicely."

When Highlanders wing Kade Poki showed him the outside Veainu chopped inside and blasted upfield before selling an outrageous dummy to Marshall.

"It's definitely instinct but I'm used to practising it with Izzy [Israel Dagg] and Zac [Guildford]. It's the backyard stuff you do when you visualise yourself out on the field.

"It's right up there - one of the best ones I have felt I have scored individually."

Fate played a part in Veainu, who has left Canterbury and will represent Hawke's Bay this season, being part of the Crusaders campaign.

He was expected to join the Highlanders' wider training group but was rejected because he failed a medical and was told he needed to have surgery.

But when Dr Deb Robinson returned from last year's All Blacks northern tour she contacted the New Zealand Rugby Union and declared him fit.

That changed everything.

The broken ankle suffered by Johnny McNicholl in Cape Town resulted in Marshall being recruited by the Crusaders.

Ad Feedback

Veainu was thankful for the intervention of Robinson, who is now the Crusaders doctor.

"Everything sort of fell into the right hands then.

"Yeah, the power of Deb Robinson." 

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

Which 2015 NZ Super Rugby team looks best?

Blues

Chiefs

Crusaders

Highlanders

Hurricanes

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content